The abutment is a special connecting part that is placed over the implant. Its role is to provide the connection between the implant and the restoration. Without the abutment, this link would not be possible. Abutments can be made from different types of materials. They are usually made from titanium, but the newest ones are also made from zirconia. Zirconia is an advanced form of ceramic material with great aesthetics and strength. The abutment can also refer to teeth, when they are used as supporting features for a dental bridge, some removable dentures and more. When it comes to bridges, they include two abutment teeth, that are always covered in crowns, and also carry up to two other pontics or artificial teeth. For partial removable dentures, abutment teeth are the ones that actually support the denture. It can be one or several.
These days there is an array of companies that produce implant abutments. These small parts are the ones that connect the actual implant with the restoration. There are a number of materials that are used including stainless steel, gold, titanium and zirconia. The posterior regions require an abutment made from a very strong material that can withhold the masticatory forces. The abutment is not always placed to be parallel to the implant. In some cases, these small parts can be used to achieve a small inclination that is necessary. There are three-piece abutments, two-piece abutments and one-piece abutments. When it comes to the first type, all three parts of the implant are separate, and the abutment is screwed to the implant. With the two-part style the abutment is either cold welded or tapered to the implant. The one-piece part involves an abutment that is already joined to the implant. The most common use of this type is for immediate implants, when the crown is placed almost right after the installation of the implant.
The whole procedure starts with placing the actual implant. It is done by an oral surgeon and a periodontist. Once they cut into the selected area, they use rotary instruments to put the implant in place. It’s a very simple procedure that can take only half an hour. After this, the dentist will have to suture the gums over the implant and wait for the recommended recovery time. Patients are instructed that they have to wait for several months (up to seven) for the bone to properly fuse with the implant. This process is called osseointegration. Once this period has passed, the dentist does a short incision and reveals the implant. Then they place a special healing cap, that is supposed to properly shape the gums. It is removed after 14 days. That is when the dentist will place the abutment. After the abutment is all set, the doctor will get an impression, that later serves for the dental technician to create a crown. In the meantime, patients usually leave with a temporary crown that covers the abutment. Some patients don’t need that healing cap, and get the abutment and the temporary crown right away. The small abutments are placed with special instruments and are tightly screwed to the implant structure.